50% of American workers report being affected by organizational change at work. Those who had gone through change reported noticeably lower job satisfaction, more chronic stress, and less work-life balance than those who didn’t. Whether you’re feeling these effects or are managing employees who are, there is a secret that can help: it’s all about maintaining the right perspective.
Make Workplace Change Easier on Yourself
Understand the situation: Monster’s advice for dealing with workplace negativity is to start with awareness, and it’s great advice for any kind of workplace change. The road to positivity and successful adaptation to change begins by taking the time to understand exactly what is happening and why. It’s natural to have an emotional reaction to news about a big shift at work, so take a few days to process it and ask questions before deciding how you will react. It will help you see the situation as objectively as possible.
Think long-term: Businesses are successful because their activities and decisions trend toward the positive side in the long run. Once you have some understanding of the change happening in your workplace, consider the positive professional benefits it can have on you. Looking back at my career, I recall a situation where a coworker left and I received a lot of extra tasks as a result. While initially it was daunting and difficult to stay positive, once I realized this was an opportunity to grow, everything changed for the better. I grew more skilled at my role and even became a mentor to others.
Know that you always have power: When forming a positive perspective during change, it’s vital to understand you are never powerless. Fast Company says that highly successful people believe in themselves even if they’ve failed at something, so keep the faith. No matter the degree of change, you have the power to use it to your advantage. Did your company suddenly implement a new software program? It’s now an opportunity to master it, use the benefits of it, and add another skill to your resume. Did you just get displaced or let go? This could be your opportunity to make the career change you’ve always needed. Did new management just take over? Consider it an opportunity to work with instead of against them, becoming an asset while counting them as new, valuable career contacts.
Channel your stress: Change is stressful. Even when we take on the right perspective, there will be difficult moments as the workplace shifts into a new normal. During these times especially, it’s important to stay healthy. Exercising, building little breaks into your day, escaping into a good book during lunch, leaving the company premises during a break, and picking up a new after-work hobby can help alleviate your stress levels.
Focus on solutions, not problems: Big changes at work can have unintended consequences. Maybe your role has suddenly changed in a way that makes it less efficient as a result. Instead of focusing on the negative, consider how to solve the issue at hand. Talk to your supervisor to inform them of how you’ve been affected by change so they know, and suggest the solution you’ve thought of. This can help management see the big picture, and most will respect your initiative.
Be the change: Finally, sometimes you just have to create the change you really want to see, putting you completely in control. Five and a half years ago ATR reached out to me with an opportunity. I could have stayed where I was – after all, any kind of change will involve uncertainty – but I took the leap and am better for it. I love where I work today for so many reasons, but I wouldn’t have been here if I didn’t embrace the idea of change as a positive thing.
Make Change Easier on Your Employees
Lead by example: Large-scale company changes affect everyone. If you manage others, it means people are relying on you more than ever during this time frame. Unfortunately, studies show that 58% of people trust strangers more than their own boss. Building trust happens over time, but when a big change does come, know that your staff is looking to you. Even if the change is causing you stress, it’s critical to stay positive and lead your employees through any chaos. After all, if you react poorly to change, your workers will too.
Have a plan: Never announce a big change without being able to tell your employees how it will affect them at the same time. You should be able to determine which roles will be hit hardest, so be proactive and anticipate their questions. Considering that 79% of people who quit do so because of a lack of appreciation, it’s necessary to let these employees know you’ve thought ahead and are making them a priority.
Communicate clearly: Once change begins to take place, no news is not good news. Nearly a third of people think their employers have hidden agendas during periods of change, so it’s necessary to be transparent to avoid falling into this statistic. Talk frankly with your workforce about what’s happening and keep them updated regularly. Having an open-door policy, implementing a new suggestion box, or sending monthly updates on a new initiative are ways to continue communicating effectively. The unknown is the hardest part of change and can destroy employee morale and engagement if left to its own devices.
Staying Positive During Change in the Workplace
Maintaining positivity can do wonders for your career. It’s easy for anyone to become complacent in their role and fall into relatively comfortable habits, but that’s not how people grow as professionals. Change, whether you initially like it or not, can be that spark that changes your life for the better. When 53% of American workers are unhappy at work, you can make the conscious choice to look at the pros of any situation instead of the cons. All it takes is the right perspective.
Whether you’re looking for a more positive work environment or seek positively minded staff, reach out to us at ATR.